An article on personal growth and change for… skeptics.
Wanting to grow means admitting your weaknesses.
Wanting to grow means leaving your backyard and putting your beliefs in doubt.
Wanting to grow means confronting and clashing with those who remain lower on the ladder of personal growth.
After all, thinking that personal growth is just a jumble of stupid things makes our “place on the ladder” more… comfortable. But is it possible that life is only a constant search for security and comfort? If you are not convinced either, these four factors will enable you to have a look at the panorama that you can see from the next rung up on the ladder.
1. Awareness. There is no growth without awareness. You cannot decide to climb until you realize that there is a ladder in front of you and you are at the lowest rung. To be aware of our positions, sometimes we have to stop and get off the high-speed train of our lives, and assess the situation. What did I dream of doing as a child? And is that what I am doing? Am I deciding my life or is it my life that is deciding? How is my physical health? Am I in shape? There are not extravagant techniques for becoming aware: stop, ask some questions and respond honestly. That’s it.
2. Change. If you have honestly answered your questions, probably now you will be aware of at least two or three aspects that are not going well in your life. Perhaps you should stop smoking, lose a bit of weight, or you want to learn to be more organized. For every aspect of your life you want to improve, to begin change you must decide to want to change, you must desire to want to change, you must be obsessed with the idea of change. When an oil rig catches fire, there is no alternative: you must escape, you must change… Quick! Create this sense of urgency in your life; make change the one walkable street. Do you want to stop smoking? Download photos of smokers’ lungs from the Internet, read books about stopping smoking, talk with an oncologist: fear and suffering are two motivators, not really new-agey ;-), but very effective.
3. Correction. Once you have created this sense of urgency in your life, the next step is correction. To begin correcting something not going well in your life, the one effective strategy is that of little steps. Experts of change management call it “Quick Wins”: to give the right rhythm to correction, you must identify small goals to reach quickly. Creating a chain of one goal after another, you will sustain high levels of motivation and make change… fun. If your next “rung” is reaching a healthy weight, fix on realistic goals and try to reach them in a fun way: buy a Wii Fit or go running with your friends. Also, if the term “correction” reminds you of those red marks from your teacher, remind yourself that improvement should not be suffering or sacrifice.
4. Growth. Being able to step up to the next rung should not be enough: the need to grow should be a constant in your life. Changing when things go badly is a necessity; changing when things go well is an opportunity.